This is the time of year to eat “green.” Green leafy veggies, that is. These wondrous leaves are packed with traditional vitamins and minerals, along with a host of phytonutrients known to ward off a variety of ailments from Alzheimer’s to certain types of cancer. Whether you use them as a base for fresh salads, as a cooked side dish or for colorful sandwich fillings, greens are “in” this spring!
Here are some favorites:
- Arugula – One cup contains only five calories but packs an array of phytonutrients called indoles that help lower risk for both stomach and colon cancers. With its peppery taste, arugula is a great addition to salads or served wilted with grilled fish.
- Chards (including Swiss and Rainbow) – In a mere 35 calories per cup, chard supplies a staggering 700 percent of vitamin K needs and a wealth of carotenes that protect your eyes from age-related loss of vision.
- Collard greens – Like other spring braising greens, collards are low in calories but big in fiber, calcium (more than 10 percent of the daily value in one cooked cup) and potassium.
- Dandelion greens – These peppery tasting salad greens are packed with folate, a B vitamin needed for heart health and protection from cancer. One cup has only 15 calories, but supplies 70 percent of vitamin A needs as carotenes, also known for their eyesight protection qualities.
- Endive – Lovely grilled or raw in salads, a ½ cup packs 75 percent of vitamin K needs, a vital nutrient for healthy bones.
- Escarole – Also called chicory, this leafy vegetable supplies more than 100 percent of vitamin K daily value along with a good dose of vitamins A and C in just one cup for a mere 15 calories.
- Frisée – Also known as curly endive, these pleasantly bitter salad greens add carotenes to your salad bowl that may help fend off various cancers and protect eye health.
- Mache – This leafy green is great for salads and adds a rich shot of color, as well as a valuable dose of potassium for a healthy blood pressure and magnesium for bones.
- Mizuna – This tangy green that jazzes up salads comes packed with indoles, known to help inhibit tumor growth.
- Watercress – These spicy greens add a kick of flavor to salads or sandwiches, along with supplying vitamin C, folate, potassium and magnesium – a quartet of nutrients that protect heart health.